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RIP Ryu Umemoto


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He deserves a thread on ocr. I hope that people knowledgeable of his work, or of his person, will post to offset my relative ignorance. All condolences and tasteful comments are welcome.

Ryu Umemoto was a composer of video game music and arranged tracks, and he was also a contributor to various other musical projects and, from the sound of it, a genuinely good and caring individual. Unfortunately, and regrettably, he passed away three days and a few hours ago at the young age of 37.

This might not be of concern to many even within a vgm-oriented place such as ocr. I, myself, would not have paid it much mind had I not lurked about a couple irc channels and been subsequently inspired to look into his work. I suppose it's a selfish and one-dimensional assessment, but all the same this man left far before his inspiration, and I encourage you all seek out his music. And if you've played Cave games and have enjoyed their music, you absolutely need hear what this man has done. Of course, his mark has been left in other areas, and those personal connections unknown to history will always be the most important. His musical legacy is simply one measure of his greatness; his body of work is represented at VGMdb.

At the risk of overshadowing the rest of his work, here is one sample. Kojiri from the Akai Katan Shin Arrange Album. Thank you Sapz, for linking that amazing track and setting me on the path to hear more.

I apologize upfront to AnSo, and to anyone else to which this might apply, if seeing this thread causes pain. I simply think an ackowledgement, and the minute tribute it represents, is in order.

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Here are a couple of links for those who'd like to learn more about Ryu Umemoto:

Square Enix Music Online's obituary

SEMO put together a nice, long look at his career. Umemoto started in the business nearly twenty years ago, though most of his works during the early years were obscure, Japanese-only games. He was a prolific guy who in his final years composed game music with original pieces on the side, arranged music for official and unofficial albums, and produced both physical and digital soundtrack releases. It seemed like his hard work and involvement with Cave was starting him on the road to becoming a big name, making his premature death especially heartbreaking.

Hardcore Gaming 101: A Dragon's Journey: Ryu Umemoto in Europe

Umemoto took a trip to Europe to meet Mattias Häggström Gerdt (anosou) and Audun Sørlie (Akumu Audi). Audi wrote up a recap of the trip, including his impressions of Umemoto. There are a fair bit of interviews with VGM composers here and there, but not too many character studies like this one that tell you about a person and what kind of a person he is. Audi also wrote a followup on Original Sound Version after Umemoto's death.

K.B. linked Umemoto's VGMdb profile, which is a good place to see just how many different projects he was involved with. There's also a memorial page on Facebook for those who use the Facebooks.

Umemoto was a master of FM synthesis. He started writing music for the PC-98, but even in recent years he was still using FM sounds in both games (Akai Katana and NIN2-JUMP) and arrangements. My favorite piece by him is his contribution to PSYVARIAR "THE MIX", an arrangement of the opening theme from Psyvariar Medium Unit (although it's really more of an original piece built on top of a minimal source). He shows off both his chip skills with some screaming guitar and his songwriting skills in general with a piece that absolutely soars. It's a breathtaking tribute to flying at 5000 miles per hour and destroying everything that moves.

R.I.P. Ryu Umemoto. You are missed, and will continue to be missed, by a lot of people.

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I remember once that George "The Fat Man" Sanger, once said that the videogame composer industry is so young, no one who works in it has died yet. I can't help but wonder if now that is no longer true, and if not who was it before him?

Sorry if thats disrespectful, I certainly don't mean it that way, it's just something that comes to mind when I see this.

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